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The RC F’s optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The 4C doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
The RC F has standard Pre-Collision System, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The 4C doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.
The RC F’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The 4C doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.
The RC F offers optional Intuitive Park Assist to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The 4C doesn’t offer a front parking aid.
The RC F’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The 4C doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.
To help make backing safer, the RC F’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The 4C doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.
The RC F’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The 4C doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
The RC F has standard Safety Connect®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The 4C doesn’t offer a GPS response system, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.
Both the RC F and the 4C have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.
The Lexus RC F weighs 1294 to 1415 pounds more than the Alfa Romeo 4C. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.
For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RC F the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 157 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The 4C has not been tested, yet.
Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the RC F 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Alfa Romeo covers the 4C. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the 4C ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
The RC F’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the 4C’s (6 vs. 4 years).
There are over 38 percent more Lexus dealers than there are Alfa Romeo dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the RC F’s warranty.
A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the RC F’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the 4C’s camshafts. If the 4C’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Alfa Romeo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Alfa Romeo is ranked 29th, below the industry average.
The RC F’s 5.0 DOHC V8 produces 235 more horsepower (472 vs. 237) and 137 lbs.-ft. more torque (395 vs. 258) than the 4C’s 1.8 turbo 4 cyl.
As tested in Motor Trend the Lexus RC F is faster than the Alfa Romeo 4C:
Zero to 60 MPH
Speed in 1/4 Mile
The RC F has 6.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the 4C (17.4 vs. 10.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Lexus RC F higher (5 out of 10) than the Alfa Romeo 4C (1). This means the RC F produces up to 39 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the 4C every 15,000 miles.
An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Lexus RC F, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the 4C.
For better stopping power the RC F’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 4C:
Opt Rear Rotors
The RC F Track Edition has standard heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The 4C doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.
The RC F stops shorter than the 4C:
60 to 0 MPH
For better traction, the RC F has larger tires than the 4C (F:255/35R19 & R:275/35R19 vs. F:205/45R17 & R:235/40R18).
The RC F’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 4C’s standard 45 series front and 40 series rear tires. The RC F’s tires are lower profile than the 4C’s optional 40 series front tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RC F has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels are standard on the 4C. The 4C’s largest wheels are only 18-inches in the front and 19-inches in the rear.
The RC F has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the 4C; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.
The RC F has a standard continuously variable suspension system. Using sensors on steering angle, speed and other driver inputs, the shocks soften to improve ride, or stiffen when appropriate to aid handling on tricky roads. The 4C’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
The RC F has standard power steering to make quick and controllable low speed maneuvers easy. The 4C doesn’t offer power steering.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the RC F’s wheelbase is 13.8 inches longer than on the 4C (107.5 inches vs. 93.7 inches).
The RC F’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (55% to 45%) than the 4C’s (41% to 59%). This gives the RC F more stable handling and braking.
For better maneuverability, the RC F’s turning circle is 5.1 feet tighter than the 4C’s (35.4 feet vs. 40.5 feet).
The design of the Lexus RC F amounts to more than styling. The RC F has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .33 Cd. That is lower than the 4C (.341). A more efficient exterior helps the RC F go faster and keeps the interior quieter. It also helps the RC F get better fuel mileage.
The RC F uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The 4C doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
The RC F has standard seating for 4 passengers; the 4C can only carry 2.
The RC F has 2.7 inches more front legroom and .9 inches more front shoulder room than the 4C.
With its coupe body style, valet key and remote trunk release lockout, the RC F offers cargo security. The 4C’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.
The RC F uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The 4C uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.
The engine in the RC F is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the 4C. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.
The RC F has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The 4C doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
When three different drivers share the RC F (except Track Edition), the optional memory system makes it convenient for all three. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver and front passenger’s seat positions, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle. The 4C doesn’t offer a memory system.
The RC F (except Track Edition)’s optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The 4C doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
The RC F’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children from operating them, but the driver can still raise and lower both of them with the lock engaged. Alfa Romeo does not offer a locking feature on the 4C’s power windows.
The RC F’s front power windows open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The 4C’s power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.
The RC F’s standard power window controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 4C’s available power window controls are spread out on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.
If the front windows are left open on the RC F the driver can close them at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (This window function must be activated by your Lexus service department.) The driver of the 4C can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
Smart Access standard on the RC F allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Alfa Romeo 4C doesn’t offer an advanced key system.
The RC F has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The 4C doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.
The RC F’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The 4C’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The RC F offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The 4C doesn’t offer headlight washers.
The RC F has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The 4C doesn’t offer automatic headlights.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the RC F detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The 4C doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the RC F has standard extendable sun visors. The 4C doesn’t offer extendable visors.
The RC F’s sun-visors swivel front-to-side to block glare from the side windows. The 4C’s visors are fixed into the windshield header.
The RC F’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 4C’s power mirror controls are on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.
When the RC F with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The 4C’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.
The RC F’s standard rear view mirror and optional side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The 4C doesn’t offer the luxury of automatic dimming mirrors.
The RC F (except Track Edition) offers optional heated front seats, which keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the 4C.
Optional air-conditioned seats in the RC F (except Track Edition) keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The 4C doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
On extremely cold winter days, the RC F’s optional (except Track Edition) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The 4C doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
The RC F’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The 4C doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.
The RC F’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The 4C doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.
A built-in pollen filter removes pollen, exhaust fumes and other pollutants from the RC F’s passenger compartment. This helps prevent lung and/or sinus irritation, which can trigger allergies or asthma. The 4C doesn’t offer a filtration system.
To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the RC F has a standard Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The 4C doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.
To help keep the driver’s hands on the wheel, the RC F has standard steering wheel controls for the radio. The 4C doesn’t offer steering wheel audio controls.
To direct the driver from any location to a given street address, a GPS navigation system is available on the RC F. The RC F’s navigation system also has a real-time traffic update feature that offers alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The 4C doesn’t offer a navigation system.
With optional voice command, the RC F offers the driver hands free control of the radio, climate controls and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The 4C doesn’t offer a voice control system.
The RC F will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the RC F will retain 48.27% to 49.36% of its original price after five years, while the 4C only retains 43.44%.
The Lexus RC outsold the Alfa Romeo 4C by over 14 to one during 2018.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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